Report into how Tasers are used in Jersey published
29th October 2020
Following a detailed review of proposed changes to the deployment of Tasers by the States of Jersey Police, findings and recommendations have been published by Scrutiny's Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel.
At present, Tasers can only be deployed when police officers have completed firearms training and received approval from a senior officer. The proposed changes would allow for police officers who have been trained to the national standard to carry and deploy Tasers without a specific firearms authority in place.
The Panel has found that whilst there are a number of reasons for this change to be brought forward, further data is required to be confident that it's the right decision at this time. During the review, the Panel received evidence to suggest that the changes could have a significant impact on:
- Jersey's policing model
- vulnerable individuals (including those dealing with mental health issues and children and young people); and
- public perception of policing in Jersey.
The Panel believes that, whilst the changes are justified to a certain extent, they should be trialled for a year during which time further data and information can be collected to identify whether the changes should be implemented permanently. This should include data relating to:
- the number of times a Taser is used to deal with an incident where someone was suffering from a mental health episode
- the number of times a Taser is used on a person under the age of 18
- the age, gender and ethnic background of individuals who have been Tasered
- whether or not the Police Officer was deployed on their own or not.
At the end of this year-long trial, the Minister for Home Affairs should report back to the States Assembly with this information at which point the Assembly would be required to vote on whether or not to continue with the proposed changes to the use of Tasers.
The Panel has also made recommendations in relation to the use of body worn cameras by States of Jersey Police Officers when a situation involving Taser is taking place. Whilst it is current practice for Officers to activate cameras during these situations, the Panel believes that the use and recording of body worn cameras should be made explicit and voted on by the States Assembly.
Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel said: "There is evidence to suggest that the changes to the way in which the States of Jersey Police deploy Taser are necessary to keep the public safe, however, the Panel is concerned that not enough data exists to give full confidence in the need for them. Through our amendments to the proposition and recommendations, we have suggested a constructive middle ground, whereby the changes are trialled for a year to allow for the necessary data to be collected in order to show whether they are truly required or not."
You can read the Panel's full report here.
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